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Ansaldo SVA A1


Ansaldo achieved aeronautical eminence in 1917 by providing a single-seat fighter of original Italian design (Italy having previously used French types). The aircraft was the A-1 Balilla ("Hunter"). About 150 built; others, license-built in Poland, served well into 1920s.

The Ansaldo A 1 Balilla was a basic biplane fighter design with a four-blade propeller and a 220 horsepower SPA 6A water-cooled in-line engine. A single pilot saw behind the biplane wing. Armament consisted of two 7.62mm British Vickers machine guns mounted forward of the cockpit seating area in a forward-firing fixed position. Endurance amounted to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The A 1 appeared in the final stages of the First World War, limiting its use to post-war defence of Italy. Some models found their way into American hands and were converted to air racers fitted with a Curtiss powerplant. Still others would see combat at the hands of Russian and Polish flyers in the Russo-Polish war in 1920.

Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter)
Engine: SAP 6A water-cooled in-line, 220 hp
Length: 22.441 ft / 6.84 m
Height: 8.301 ft / 2.53 m
Wingspan: 25.197 ft / 7.68 m
Wing area: 228.197 sqft / 21.2 sq.m
Max take off weight: 1951.4 lb / 885.0 kg
Weight empty: 1378.1 lb / 625.0 kg
Max. speed: 119 kts / 220 km/h / 119kt
Service ceiling: 16404 ft / 5000 m
Wing load: 8.61 lbs/sq.ft / 42.00 kg/sq.m
Range: 324 nm / 600 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 2 x 7.62mm Vickers machine guns


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